TIGER VIII: Rail projects receive $72.1 million

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, Editor, Railway Track & Structures; and Engineering Editor, Railway Age
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Elected officials have begun releasing information about projects awarded grants from the eighth round of the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

So far, $72.1 million has been awarded to rail specific or rail related projects in Illinois, Rhode Island, Mississippi and Washington state.

The known projects to benefit from TIGER VIII are:

$25 million to the city of Chicago for the Garfield Green Line Gateway. The $50 million project will completely rehabilitate the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Garfield Station, which is one of the oldest transit stations in the country. CTA is finalizing designs for the work, which is expected to begin in 2018 and be completed by 2019.

$14 million to the city of Springfield, Ill., for the Springfield Rail Improvements Project. The project will relocate all passenger and freight traffic from the Third Street corridor to Tenth Street; construct roadway underpasses at critical rail crossings on both the Tenth and Nineteenth Street corridors; and eliminate train horns in the city between Stanford and Sangamon Avenues.

$13.1 million to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to build a new commuter rail station between Dexter and Conant Streets in Pawtucket. RIDOT will work with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to provide service at the station, which will offer a connection to Wickford Junction, T.F. Green Airport, Providence, as well as other stops all the way up to Boston’s South Station.

$10 million to the city of Natchez, Miss., to upgrade five structurally-deficient bridges along the Natchez railway between Natchez and Brookhaven. The bridge repair work would permit railcars that meet the 286,000-pound industry standard to traverse the bridges and allow trains to travel at 25 mph over the repaired bridges. Trains are currently limited to lighter loads and must travel at 10 mph over the bridges.

$10 million to the Port of Everett in Washington state for the South Terminal modernization project. The project will strengthen on-dock facilities and double the port’s rail capacity by constructing approximately 3,300 lineal feet of rail to increase on-site storage from 46 cars to 106 cars.

USDOT had $500 million available for this round of TIGER, but received 585 applications requesting $9.3 billion. Since 2009, TIGER has provided nearly $4.6 billion to 381 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including 134 projects to support rural and tribal communities. Overall, the U.S. Department of Transportation has received more than 6,700 applications requesting more than $134 billion for transportation projects across the country.

In 2016, USDOT said its focus for the TIGER program was on capital projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities, both urban and rural.

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